Servicing Australia wide HR consulting for employers Australia wide.

Workplace loneliness: real or make believe?

A new report has identified 40 per cent of Australian workers suffer from workplace loneliness, causing flow-on effects for both productivity and wellbeing.

The Workplace Loneliness report, launched this week by global HR institute Reventure, surveyed 1,010 employed Australians aged 18-65. It found 40 per cent of Australian workers feel lonely at work; with 38 per cent of lonely workers reporting they make more mistakes and 40 percent of lonely workers feeling less productive.

Furthermore, 47 per cent of those that identify as lonely are more likely to suffer poor wellbeing and 36 per cent of lonely workers report getting sick more often.

The report “builds on international commentary about the impact of loneliness on people’s health, including findings that loneliness has a similar effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” Reventure said in a statement.

All sounds a little grim. But I do have one question (or many actually, but I’ll go with my main one): what percentage of those professing loneliness at work would also admit to being lonely away from the workplace?

It’s news to few people that technology has changed (and continues to change) the way we communicate…both in our personal lives and at work. In many workplaces, talking directly with colleagues is the exception rather than the norm, with emails, text and social media enabling us to communicate faster, more frequently and across greater distances than at any time before.

Paradoxically, this hyper-connectedness may be one reason loneliness is actually on the rise: the more digitally connected we become, the further apart we grow…emotionally, socially and physically. And for me, it would be challenging to compartmentalise an issue as complex as loneliness into “personal” and “professional” boxes: can someone not lonely in their personal life become lonely at work? In other words…does the degree of loneliness a person might suffer depend solely on their working environment?

Let’s assume you’re an employer seeing value in addressing such a topic. Here’s some options you might consider when combatting the issue of workplace loneliness:

  • Don’t import a problem: recruit for the culture you have – assuming you’re happy with that culture.
  • Place greater emphasis on effective onboarding; including “buddying up” your newbies with an experienced team member.
  • Think about the pros and cons of a “no mobile” workplace. Might sound far fetched but we’re seeing more and more clients taking this approach.
  • Encourage face to face conversations instead of emails whenever possible.
  • Focus on projects requiring employees work in collaborative teams.
  • Show recognition regularly.

Bare Bones Consulting specialises in employee engagement and how to introduce simple and effective engagement strategies into your workplace. Our genuine HR management level experience allows us to quantify our results…and that’s time and dollars to you. Check some of our results out here.

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

Contact Us

Give Bare Bones Consulting a call to discuss our range of HR services to help your business succeed.

Even if you elect to not proceed after our first complimentary consultation you’ll be in a better position to know what’s possible.

We believe our approach to HR is unique... but then again, so is your business.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.